Sleep paralysis occurs when a person is aware of his or her surroundings after waking or falling asleep but is unable to move (except for his or her eyelids). During sleep paralysis, people often hear, feel, and see things that are not actually there which results in fear. This then makes the sleep paralysis episode even worse.
For example, a person may wake up and see an old hag sitting in the corner of his or her room. Terrified, the person may want to run and scream but will find that he or she is completely unable to move or utter a sound. The hag may start moving towards the person at which point the latter will probably snap out of sleep paralysis. In fact, sleep paralysis is also known as the “Old Hag Syndrome” because so many people see an old hag during their experience.
The best way to snap out of sleep paralysis is to remain as calm as possible and focus on one limb at a time. Knowing that the episode is nothing but sleep paralysis may even make the experience pleasurable. In fact, it may lead to lucid dreaming.
15 A Homicidal Experience
When most people experience sleep paralysis, they simply can’t move. Sometimes they also feel as if someone is watching them. While that is extremely scary in itself, some people’s sleep paralysis experiences are so terrifying that they belong in horror movies.
Take the sleep paralysis that Reddit user milesdizzy experienced - “Someone, brushing a knife against their cheek ... if I made a single noise or tried to move. I tried to scream and someone came running – but they were still part of the episode and they jumped on top of me and started screaming in my face.”
Apparently, as this was happening, milesdizzy kept trying to move her fingers and eventually managed to roll herself towards the light and switch it on. But the rest of the night was not any less awful – “I spent the rest of the night awake, in a cold sweat with the lights on. One of the worst experiences of my life.”
14 When Sleep Paralysis Feels Like A Demonic Possession
Reddit user awesomehudder has also had a creepy sleep paralysis experience – “I had one this night and it felt horrible because it was my first one! I was laying on my stomach unable to move my head and I constantly had a feeling that my eyes were rolling up as if a demon possessed me.”
As in most sleep paralysis cases, awesomehudder couldn’t move or say a word – “I was trying to say something but I couldn’t make a noise so I hummed very loud! It felt like a dream but when I was in full control of my body I was still humming.”
13 A Man In The Corner Of The Room
Another Reddit user, who has since been deleted, has had sleep paralysis her whole life – “I have very distinct memories of it as a child. I would always start with me 'waking up' and there would be a man in my room in the corner, standing over me, etc. and I would scream for my parents but nothing would come out. Just quiet air no matter how hard I tried to scream.”
Once the user entered college, the sleep paralysis got worse – “I would feel the men run their hands over my body and stuff like that. I’m lucky I never had paranormal hallucinations like lots of people do, but it’s really scary to truly believe there is an intruder in your room and he’s (assaulting) you and you can’t scream.”
But then, sometime later, the sleep paralysis “experience” came true – “I woke up and saw a man in all black disguise crouching at the edge of my bed moving onto my bed and I started to scream [...] It was real. There really was a man that entered my room. Years and years of the same nightmare finally coming true... I’ve yet to recover.”
12 Attacked By A Dream Witch
Reddit user Crappler319 started experiencing sleep paralysis at the age of 10. He’d have sleep paralysis several times a week so he got used to dealing with it. However, when he was 18, Crappler319 had the worst sleep paralysis experience ever.
Crappler 319 decided to take a mid-morning nap when he suddenly realized that he couldn’t move – “Then, I feel something slide up my body. Huh. That’s new. Then, like plunging into a cold pool, my control and rational understanding of the situation flees and I realize, with absolute certainty, that there is a fu*king witch in my room holy s*it and she slithers up my chest, locking her mouth over mine. I desperately try to wriggle out, but I can’t move and I can feel her sucking the breath out of my lungs. I know that I’m dying. I have to move and get free.”
According to Crappler319, during sleep paralysis your motor control suddenly comes back instantly. He jumped out of bed and slammed full speed into his weight bench’s steel support beam – “I had a black eye for ages, and whenever someone asked what happened I lied and said that I fell down the stairs because ‘I WAS ATTACKED BY A DREAM WITCH’ isn’t a thing that you say to people that you want to keep interacting with.”
11 An Evil Presence In The Room
Reddit user StopDropAndBurn experiences sleep paralysis at least a few times a year. But in contrast to what you may think, just because you’ve experienced sleep paralysis numerous times it doesn’t mean that sleep paralysis experiences that follow are any less terrifying.
StopDropAndBurn says that it’s always awful – “It’s always an awful feeling of something very evil in the room. Just standing and watching me, and I want to scream, I want to move, but I can’t. Huge anxiety attack, where I get the feeling if I don’t move this instant, something awful will happen, and slowly a low growl comes out of my mouth, and I wake up.”
10 A Figure In The Mirror
McPiranha once had an incredibly vivid dream of being in a public toilet. In the dream, the weather outside was gloomy and there was strange music playing in the background. McPiranha woke up and tried to move but couldn’t – “My eyes shot open and I tried to move my arm, I thought I was laying in a weird position and my arm just went dead, but I then realized I couldn’t move any part of my body aside from my eyes.”
Then, McPiranha noticed something strange in the mirror – “I was trying to make out what it was, with only the crack in the door letting light in it was hard to make it out. The figure started to climb out of the mirror, which scared the s*it out of me, allowed me to get a better look at it. Long black hair, white dirty dress, I realized that it was the girl from The Grudge [...] As she stood up and was a good 4 feet from my face, I shut my eyes as hard as I could and kept repeating to myself in my head “go to sleep, just go to sleep. For the love of god, just go to sleep!!!” I felt my leg twitch and I immediately shot up from my bed, heart racing.”
9 A Little Girl In A White Dress
Aflyingunicorn1 has had a few sleep paralysis episodes. However, her first sleep paralysis was the most terrifying one to date. Aflyingunicorn1 came home at 10 am after staying out all night with friends. Since her sofa was not very comfy she wrapped herself in a blanket and plopped down on her rug. She fell asleep watching TV.
Suddenly, sleep paralysis started – “I couldn’t move, of course. But I felt watched. I was able to look around myself, and doing so I saw a little girl wearing a white dress staring at me. I tried to grab my phone next to my head, but I couldn’t move my arms. I tried screaming, no sound came out. I basically felt like I was in a coma but I could see around me and this little girl creeped me out so much. After what felt like 3 hours, she finally moved and I woke up. I looked up and saw that where the little girl was standing, my white fan was.”
8 A Scary Sleep Paralysis Experience
MedicDLC20 has had a few episodes of sleep paralysis when she was a child. However, it completely stopped in her teens. But recently, it has started again. And it has gotten worse. The night of her worst experience, MedicDLC20 could feel sleep paralysis coming – “I could feel my breathing change as usual which I recognize as 'oh hey sleep paralysis is starting'."
Suddenly, MedicDLC20 felt a weird sensation – “I felt something stabbing my back over and over. It then started to burn, it was ridiculously painful. I felt something start to hold me down, like my arms and shoulders. I felt something pull my hair and whisper something in my ear. I tried to calm down because I knew it was just me hallucinating but [...] I couldn’t.”
7 Meeting The Devil
Libellule87 used to get sleep paralysis all the time, and after a while, the episodes stopped scaring her. She was curious to learn more about it and after doing some research Libellule87 read that sleep paralysis was the onset of astral projection.
Libellule87 thought that was pretty cool and decided to try it next time she experienced sleep paralysis. However, it didn’t go to plan – “I tried to separate myself from my physical body by sitting up. All of a sudden, I was facing the wall and this huge black hooded figure appeared inches from my face and in my head I could hear it telling me to “GOOOOO BACK”, in a deep and very scary voice. “
Libellule87 immediately knew who the voice belonged to – “You know when you’re dreaming and a person you’re with is someone you know in reality but in your dream, they may look different? But in your dream you know it’s them. That’s the best way I can describe how I felt. I just knew I was looking at the devil.”
6 Pulled By An Angel
Bleachviolet has been experiencing sleep paralysis for a while, but her most terrifying experience included her feeling as if she was being pulled up. The episode happened on a really hot night when Bleachviolet had trouble falling asleep – “I was slowly drifting off and then all of a sudden I jolted but I couldn’t move at all. I knew what was happening but I couldn’t scream. My dogs were lying next to me and they were looking at me funny.”
Then, all of a sudden, Bleachviolet felt like she was being pulled – “Then out of nowhere, I felt this force on my chest lifting me up [...] It was like an entity was trying to take my soul into heaven. What was scary was that although I was scared, I actually liked the feeling. I’m a very depressed person and have thought a lot about suicide so when I was being pulled up, I was thinking in my head ‘take me, please take me’ as if an angel was trying to take my soul to heaven. Then it just stopped.”
5 A Ghost Like Creature In The Corner Of The Room
Tenderawesome confesses that the first sleep paralysis experience she had was the worst – “I woke up to an immense feeling of pressure pushing my whole body into my bed. When I finally was released from this feeling I thought I was possessed.”
Thankfully, tenderawesome doesn’t always hallucinate, which makes her sleep paralysis experiences less scary. However, she couldn’t completely avoid hallucinations – “If I did hallucinate it usually came in the form of some sort of dark ghost-like creature that would watch me from corners in my room.”
Perhaps most interestingly, tenderawesome says she actually enjoys sleep paralysis – “All in all I actually enjoyed the experiences when I knew I wasn’t going to die from them.”
4 A Terrifying Nightmare
Another deleted Reddit user confessed that he too once had a terrifying sleep paralysis experience – “I’d just come out of a dream where I’d murdered a guy and tried to dissolve him with caustic soda. He was wrapped in a plastic under my bed but started to thrash around, I’d apparently tried to melt him before he was quite dead [...] I was locked in place, unable to speak or move and it was a truly horrible, frightening experience.”
The deleted user is not the only one to have awful nightmares during sleep paralysis – in fact, most sleep paralysis cases are marked with nightmares or terrifying hallucinations.
3 Hooded Figures
Betneey has recurrent isolated sleep paralysis quote often - "I have Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis (I have these episodes very often) and honestly they're terrifying." Most of the time she sees hooded figures swaying to the sides and chanting. However, these hooded figures are certainly not the worst she has experienced.
According to Betneey, the worst sleep paralysis experience she had was when she heard someone running towards her room – “I woke up (obviously I couldn’t move except my eyes, crushing weight in chest etc.), and I could hear noises downstairs in my kitchen. I then heard footsteps slowly coming up the stairs and they stopped for a second. Then I heard something absolutely gunning it down the hallway towards my room and slam into my bedroom door. Silence after that.”
2 A Feeling Of Doom
Dos_Manos gets sleep paralysis about once a year and every single time it is as terrifying as before. The experience is similar to what others experience – “I’m struggling to move my body, to ‘snap’ myself awake because I have this awful sinking feeling of doom that something is moving steadily towards me. I can often hear my own moaning as I’m trying to wake up, as well as feel my own drool on my face.”
And these experiences are really tiring – “When I finally manage to wake up, I am not alert – I’m bone tired, but I’ve learned from experience that going back to sleep put me in the same condition.”
1 Dark Figure Sucking Breath Away
JD_2020 almost always has the same hallucinations when he experiences sleep paralysis – “A demonic fuzzy dark figure would hover above my bed and suck the breath out of my mouth from about 6 inches away. Gasping for air and struggling to move, I would lay for several minutes until finally, I’d break from it, sit up in a panic startling my girlfriend, and it would, of course, be gone.”
Since these hallucinations were so scary JD_2020 initially thought that what he was experiencing was not sleep paralysis but a paranormal experience – “Prior to reading up about sleep paralysis, I actually thought it was possible these were actual paranormal incidents.”